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Showing posts from 2020

Sermon on Matthew 14:13-21, for the 9th Sunday after Pentecost 2020 (A), "Life in 3D"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. Lately I’ve been listening to the podcast “Word without Walls” by one of my New Testament professors, Dr. Michael Eschelbach. He describes two conflicting worldviews: worldly thinking vs. Biblical Christianity. He calls the worldly way of thinking a “one dimensional” world or “Red Pyramid” world, because it’s ruthlessly competitive and gets bloody as everyone tries to climb up the pyramid by stepping on others. It only sees our 1D material life and what we can get out of it. It’s blind to any spiritual dimensions of life. Just this flat material world where we compete for scarce resources and opportunity, and sin and selfishness rule. We all recognize this “1D” way of living. It’s promoted everywhere. The Biblical worldview, he calls the “Green V” or 3D world. A life that is supported and sustained by God, and pours out from God’s bottomless resources of goodness, blessing, and love, t…

Sermon on Romans 8:28-39, for the 8th Sunday after Pentecost 2020 (A), "Conformed to the Firstborn"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. As we saw also last week, Romans 8 is rich with deep theology and comfort. Some of the most amazing promises of God are found in this beloved Scripture. Let’s focus in on how God chose us to be conformed to the image of His Son. To be “conformed” is to take on something else’s shape. In Romans 12 Paul tells us not to be conformed to the world, but to be transformed by the renewal of your mind. So it’s really a question of whose shape or form are we going to take? The easy path, the natural pull of gravity is to adopt the shape or form of the world. It doesn’t take any effort to soak in the values, the morals, and the mindset of the world. We’re marinated in that environment. Self-gratification, self-service, self-interested—the shape of the world is easy to conform to—it fits our natural desires. But to be conformed to the image of Jesus, to be transformed in Him by the renewal of our m…

Sermon on Romans 8:18-27, for the 7th Sunday after Pentecost 2020 (A), "Creation and Restoration"

·What we see in creation: beauty or suffering? The positive: the case for design/creation; beauty, engineering, puzzle. The negative: the thorns, the parasites, diseases, COVID, natural disasters, death? Led many evolutionists to doubt and reject God. ·Rom 8—creation groaning—subjected to futility. Futile: ineffective; failure; lack of purpose or success. God subjected the world to this b/c of sin—Adam’s first sin opened the world to futility and subjugation. Sin is an ongoing, thorough devastation of the whole creation, not just humans: entire physical universe. The Christian understands this from God’s Word, that sin has infected everything, and that the world is not as it was or should be, but that what we see now is the corrupted world. But others may look at the defects, diseases, and death in the world and think God didn’t know what He was doing, or that He wasn’t a good designer. They assume that the world as we know it today must have been how God made it, even though the Bibl…

Sermon on Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23, for the 6th Sunday after Pentecost 2020 (A), “This is God’s Work”

Sermon outline: (Listen to full audio on the podcast app)·This is God’s work: the Sower, and the Seed (Word) which has the power to grow. ·Hindrances are the work of the devil, the world, and our sinful nature. ·Our job is to hear; to listen. Hear the Word of the Lord b/c faith comes by hearing. ·This is God’s work—gracious and reckless (throw seeds) “Though some be snatched and some be scorched and some be choked and matted flat, the sower sows; his heart cries out: “‘Oh, what of that and what of that?’” Not stingy or selective of who receives the Gospel—God knows His Word will be rejected—this is why Jesus taught in parables. Those who would hear and understand would be blessed. oThis is God’s work—the seed that grows is God’s powerful word. Not from us. The Word-seed contains the very life it gives and grows. Fruitful members in good soil are a product of the Word-seed implanted in us. (ears!) oThis is God’s work—the Word-seed produces more than what was planted. “God gives the gr…

Sermon on Matthew 11:25-30 for the 5th Sunday after Pentecost, " Trading Yokes with Jesus"

Sermon outline: ·Re-read: “28Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Beloved passage·Burdens and yokes. Farming, oxen. Trading Yokes with Jesus. Heavy for light·Our yokes and burdens: 1) the yoke of sin and guilt. 2) “wearisome changes”—the yoke of worries and cares in the world, 3) the yoke of labor ·All my burdens. All my anxieties. Sin and guilt—heaviest and perhaps least understood. Invisible, but we feel its weight. Feel the dread of guilt, judgment, fear of hell. Denial doesn’t get rid of it. Anger can’t lift it. Passing the blame doesn’t lessen the weight. Doesn’t stop us from trying. But sin presses down on our soul. Our conscience sounds the alarm. But sometimes we learn to suppress the alarm, numb the feeling, or ignore it. But only Christ can lift the weight of sin, His forgive…

Sermon on Matthew 10:34-42, for the 4th Sunday after Pentecost 2020 (A), "Divided; United"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. There’s a hard lesson about division and judgment in today’s Gospel: Jesus talks about how He did not come to bring peace, but a sword. Divisions in the world, the family, and ultimately divisions from ourselves. Divisions are a tragic symptom of our sinful condition. Selfishness, rivalry, divided loyalties, and much more come from our sinful refusal to put God and His ways first. By contrast, God’s peace comes to those who trust and follow Jesus, even while they are divided from those who won’t follow Jesus. Ultimately Jesus must divide from sin, error and unbelief. There must be a parting of ways between God’s way and the world’s way—between the devil’s lies and God’s truth. Thank Jesus for rescuing us from lies and bringing us into truth. So where does Jesus divide and where does He unite? Jesus must divide us from lies and unify us with the truth. Lies are incompatible with the trut…

Sermon on Matthew 10:5a, 21-33, for the 3rd Sunday after Pentecost 2020 (A), "Turning Fear into Courage in the Kingdom"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In Matthew 10 Jesus sends out His apostles on the mission of His kingdom. Life in His kingdom is not an easy mission—quite the opposite—He promises it will be hard. Expect it. Thinking of quitting or surrendering? Jesus speaks courage to your heart! He transforms fear into courage in His kingdom. Let’s see how. In verses 26-33, Jesus uses the word “fear” four times. Three times it’s: “Don’t fear”; and once it’s to “fear God.” What’s there to be afraid of? When you stand up and live for Jesus, you will be misunderstood and rejected, like Him. You can potentially face mockery, hatred, persecution, and in the worst cases, death. Many fears in life are exaggerated and blown out of proportion. But some are perfectly real. But whatever the fear, Jesus calls: “Fear not.” Virtually no one is trying to kill us because we are Christian. We live in a free country. But that kind of extreme persecution is…

Sermon on Matthew 9:35-10:8 (with frequent reference to Ezekiel 34), for the 2nd Sunday after Pentecost 2020 (A), "Christ's Compassion"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. God sure loves sheep. All over the Bible He calls His people “sheep”, from “the Lord is my Shepherd” to the Good Shepherd searching and finding His lost sheep—God loves sheep. And Matthew 9:36 observes that when Jesus taught the crowds, He had compassion on them because they were “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Clearly the sheep were in danger. There is a lot going on in those words. Harassed and helpless means that the sheep are being abused, exploited, or otherwise harmed, and are unable to defend themselves or rescue themselves out of the situation. “Like sheep without a shepherd” indicates they are leaderless or that their leaders have failed them.These words echo back to God’s care for His people the sheep, described in Ezekiel 34. Ezekiel 34 describes another group of harassed and helpless sheep. God rails against the “shepherds of Israel”, which means the …